As I organize student folders for this year’s Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship, a sobering thought came to me: We need to stop calling kids soft.
I realize this runs counter to the prevailing narrative. Adults like to pound their chests and speak aloud about they had it harder than today’s kids. We talk about how our kids couldn’t have survived our childhood and other uphill-both-ways nonsense.
Because it is nonsense.
Our kids aren’t soft. We are. Look at your own belly. Can you do more sit-ups than your kid or is your middle as soft as birthday cake fresh out of the bakery?
We tell our kids not to quit, but how many things have you quit just in the last 90 days? What happened to that New Year’s Resolution? It’s probably over there in the corner collecting dust along with your P90X videos, treadmill, golf clubs, and inline skates.
Not to mention you let the battery die on that FitBit. You don’t even know where it is, do you?
Your kids see all of that, but what about what they don’t see? They don’t see the dozens of emailed resumes and cover letters you’ve sent out because work has been too hard on you. They don’t see the $20-a-month donation you make to your local gym.
Make no mistake. It’s a donation because you never go. They see you start and stop a million things. They hear you complain about your bad back, aching knees, and sore feet. You complain about your age, but their grandparents go walking every morning at 5 a.m.
Your daughter has heard you talk about going back to school since she was five. She’s fifteen now.
Adults today talk a good game, but don’t have any real game. If we want our kids to listen to us, we need to model the behavior we want them to follow.
Finish what you start. Do what you say you’re going to do. Let your kids see you read something other than your social media timeline. Be the person you want them to learn from and admire.